Anthony Weiner had a freakout on Wednesday when a voter told him he should be ashamed for what he's done and not run for public office. "What rabbi taught you that you're my judge!" Weiner shouted. His initial comebacks were slightly muffled by a mouthful of honey cake. But as the confrontation went on, Weiner got more angry. "You know nothing! You know nothing! Your ignorance is being shown to the entire world!" A summer filled with hope for the comebacks for sex scandal-plagued politicians like Weiner and Eliot Spitzer looks to be ending in disappointment.
Update 4:45p.m.: Weiner's campaign released a longer video of the encounter, which seemed like an odd move, likely to result in more unflattering coverage. But if you watch the video, you can see why. The voter called him "a real scumbag," which isn't the worst thing anyone's ever heard on the streets of New York. But then he took a bigoted shot at Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin. At about 3:50 in to the video, the voter mumbles, "Married to an Arab."
Weiner tweeted that he did not lose his cool — "if by melt down you mean stood up to a heckler. Yep. Did that. That's what Mayors have to do sometimes." But if you look at the video of the confrontation, captured by reporter Jacob Kornbluh, Weiner does not look very mayoral. The veins in his face are bulging. He does not look like a happy warrior. The voter admonishes Weiner for doing "disgusting things" and says he can't believe "you have the nerve to walk around in public." Weiner responds explosively: "Oh yeah? Are you a perfect person?!" He shouts, "You're not God!"
Perhaps Weiner was feeling stressed out. Earlier Wednesday morning, Weiner was asked on the local morning show Good Day New York what he would do if he lost the September 10 Democratic primary in the New York mayor's race. "Reality check is coming in six days," host Rosanna Scotto said. "What will you do if you don’t get into the [runoff]?" Weiner replied, "I’ve always had this dream of doing weather and sports on your show, standing in front of that screen." As Politicker notes, Scotto then dragged Weiner over to the green screen and made him do the weather.
Weiner briefly led polls in the New York mayor's race, before his 2012 sexting came to light. He's dropped to fourth place, and his support is in single digits. Likewise, Eliot Spitzer's race for city comptroller is declining after an early peak. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll, posted on Wednesday, puts his opponent Scott Stringer ahead, 47 percent to 45 percent among likely voters. That edge is "too close to call," according to the Quinnipiac's polling director, but it's still a far cry from Spitzer's huge lead on August 14, when he was ahead 56 percent to 37 percent.
Meanwhile, across the coast, San Diego mayor Bob Filner desperately tried to hold on to his job after he was accused of sexual harassment in mid-July. Filner went to two weeks of "intensive therapy" in early August, but left early, and was ultimately done in by 18 (!) accusations of sexual harassment. Or, what he calls "the hysteria of a lynch mob." He finally resigned on August 30 in a settlement with the city. Based on public polls, Weiner will exit political life — for now, at least — on September 10. It's too close to call for Spitzer.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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